Wai 894: Te Urewera Pre-publication Part I
On 9 April 2009, the Waitangi Tribunal released part I of its report into the Treaty claims of the iwi and hapu of Te Urewera district. The report is being released in parts at the request of the Crown and claimants, to assist them in settlement negotiations.
Part I examines the tribal landscape of the Urewera region. It describes the tribes, their origins, settlement, values, and beliefs, and the ways that they exercised authority over their lands. Te Urewera tribes did not sign the Treaty of Waitangi. They were not offered the opportunity to do so. The first part of the Te Urewera report examines the situation up to 1865. It finds that, in that period, the peoples of Te Urewera were not in any real sense governed by the Crown and it considers the implications of this.
The report also examines the confiscation of Tuhoe land in the 1860s by the Crown. The confiscation was designed to punish other iwi but it also included much of Tuhoe’s best land. No land was ever returned to Tuhoe, even though the Crown had not intended to punish them. Largely in response to this, some Te Urewera iwi supported Te Kooti in attacks on Mohaka and other places in 1869, with about 80 Maori and Pakeha being killed. The Crown responded by sending an armed force into Te Urewera, killing non-combatants and destroying homes, food supplies, and taonga. Many people died, either as casualties or from hunger and disease, and this created a lasting legacy of pain and grievance. The report examines the impact of these actions on the relationship between the Crown and Te Urewera Maori.
The Waitangi Tribunal heard evidence from claimants and the Crown between 2003 and 2005 on 40 separate claims. The inquiry panel comprised Judge Patrick Savage (presiding), Dr Ann Parsonson, Joanne Morris, and Tuahine Northover.
The Tribunal will release the remainder of the pre-publication report in further parts.
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